Title: Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey and Poems
Author: Emily Bronte, Charlotte Bronte, Anne Bronte
Publisher: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1905
Condition: Limp leatherette. Minor wear to spine, otherwise excellent. Thin paper. A scarce edition.
About the book:
This book contains Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey and the poems of the Bronte sisters. These poems are listed under the sisters’ pen names, namely Acton Bell, Ellis Bell and Currer Bell.
Wuthering Heights (from Wikipedia):
Wuthering Heights is a novel by Emily Brontë, written between October 1845 and June 1846, and published in 1847 under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. It was her first and only published novel: she died the following year, at age 30. The decision to publish came after the success of her sister Charlotte’s novel, Jane Eyre. After Emily’s death, Charlotte edited the manuscript of Wuthering Heights, and arranged for the edited version to be published as a posthumous second edition in 1850.
Wuthering Heights is the name of the farmhouse on the Yorkshire moors where the story unfolds. The book’s core theme is the destructive effect that jealousy and vengefulness have, both on the jealous or vengeful individuals and on their communities.
Although Wuthering Heights is now widely regarded as a classic of English literature, it received mixed reviews when first published, and was considered controversial because its depiction of mental and physical cruelty was unusually stark, and it challenged strict Victorian ideals of the day, including religious hypocrisy, morality, social classes and gender inequality. The English poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti referred to it as a “fiend of a book — an incredible monster.”
In the second half of the 19th century, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre was considered the best of the Brontë sisters’ works, but later critics argued that Wuthering Heights was superior. Wuthering Heights has inspired adaptations, including film, radio and television dramatisations, a musical by Bernard J. Taylor, a ballet, operas (by Bernard Herrmann, Carlisle Floyd, and Frédéric Chaslin), a role-playing game, and a 1978 song by Kate Bush.
Agnes Grey (from Wikipedia):
Agnes Grey is the debut novel of English author Anne Brontë, first published in December 1847, and republished in a second edition in 1850. The novel follows Agnes Grey, a governess, as she works in several bourgeois families. Scholarship and comments by Anne’s sister Charlotte Brontë suggest the novel is largely based on Anne Brontë’s own experiences as a governess for five years. Like her sister Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre, it addresses what the precarious position of governess entailed and how it affected a young woman.
The choice of central character allows Anne to deal with issues of oppression and abuse of women and governesses, isolation and ideas of empathy. An additional theme is the fair treatment of animals. Agnes Grey also mimics some of the stylistic approaches of bildungsromans, employing ideas of personal growth and coming to age, but representing a character who in fact does not gain in virtue.
The Irish novelist George Moore praised Agnes Grey as “the most perfect prose narrative in English letters,” and went so far as to compare Anne’s prose to that of Jane Austen. Modern critics have made more subdued claims admiring Agnes Grey with a less overt praise of Brontë’s work than Moore.
Poems (from Wikipedia):
Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell was a volume of poetry published jointly by the three Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne in 1846 (see 1846 in poetry), and their first work to ever go in print. To evade contemporary prejudice against female writers, the Brontë sisters adopted androgynous first names. All three retained the first letter of their first names: Charlotte became Currer Bell, Anne became Acton Bell, and Emily became Ellis Bell. The book was printed by Aylott and Jones, from London. The first edition failed to attract interest, with only two copies being sold. However, the sisters decided to continue writing for publication and began work on their first novels, which became commercial successes. Following the success of Charlotte’s Jane Eyre in 1848, and after the deaths of Emily and Anne, the second edition of this book (printed in 1850 by Smith & Elder) fared much better, with Charlotte’s additions of previously unpublished poetry by her two late sisters. It is believed that there are fewer than ten copies in existence with the Aylott and Jones title-page.